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Would a maths tutor be a good idea or a bad one?

(35 Posts)
OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 23-May-08 12:28:03

Following on from my previous thread I realised that although a once a week pullout for dd to do some open ended maths would be fab for her, it still wouldnt solve her boredom during other maths lessons.

So pie in the sky thought.....

if somehow we managed to afford it (not sure how!) and got dd a maths tutor. Then perhaps we could persuade school to pull her out of the majority of maths lessons in order to do the maths homework the tutor has set and she could also work on improving her creative writing or whatever school thought was appropriate. That way dd could progress at her own speed without boredom and fairly minimal disruption to the rest of the class.

So what do you think?
Would it be beneficial?
What are the draw backs
Would schools like that sort of thing?
How much would it cost and how can we afford it (lol!)


avenanap Fri 23-May-08 12:40:14

The school should be giving her work that is appropriate to her level so she should not be causing her bordom. I would avoid focusing too much on one area, it's unbalancing and would create a big gap between her and her class mates. The teacher wouldn't be too happy about this either to be honest with you. I know that you want to do the best for your child but this really will put the teachers nose out of joint and it has the potential to cause serious problems. Your daughter is going to have times when she's bored, you can't avoid this I'm afraid. Have you taught her techiques that will keep her occupied whilst she waits so she doesn't get into mischief?
It would be a better idea to use the money set aside for a tutor and take her to concerts/plays/day trips. My ds is gifted but I really wouldn't get him a tutor. He sticks out like a sore thumb already, this would make things worse.

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 12:43:55

When our children were at school in Montreal, a retired (about 90 yrs old) maths professor from McGill used to come and do just that for nothing, with a small group of 5th graders. It drives me nuts that in the UK very little special provision is made for children who are ahead of the curve. It's seen as perfectly acceptable for bright to be bored out of their brains or set colouring to do as "extension work". Drives me nuts. Not quite sure what it is teaching the brighter children apart from- don't bother to finish your work too quickly.

And, Avenap, yes in an ideal world there would be special provision. Other countries manage it. Just not this one.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 23-May-08 12:47:34

Thanks avenanap - I'm glad I asked here before I went too far down the line!!

It would be a real struggle to afford it anyway as she does riding, violin and judo (which started off as a cheapish afterschool club but is starting to look pricier with comps) and brownies.

Its so frustrating though - the competitive terrible parent in me knows that she'd be one of these kids who'd do her gcse maths really really early if given the opportunity. The decent parent in me wants her to happy, well rounded and socially capable. Thats the side of me that almost always wins - thank goodness for my dds sake!!

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 12:49:00

Aargh, no! Not GCSE maths!! What will she do for the remaining years of compulsory maths if she does it now? That will do nothing for her whatsoever imo.

avenanap Fri 23-May-08 12:49:23

It hasn't changed since I was at school then. I used to count spots on the ceiling. vey interesting hmm.
Ds is at a private school. Most of his work is set to his ability. My best friend teaches at a state primary and she does this aswell so it can be done.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 23-May-08 12:51:20

I know I know duchesse - thank goodness I'm expressing my ridiculousness here rather than irl (where I'm considered almost slightly sensible)

avenanap Fri 23-May-08 12:53:09

Don't let her take GCSE's early! It's never a good idea to put a child under this amount of pressure. Have you thought of teaching her something they don't do at school? Astronomy is good, very mathsie (I know it's not a word grin)? I know it's frustrating. My ds is very good at all kinds of stuff. I could very easily teach him a level chemistry but I'm not going to as it would be unfair. It sounds like your dd is a busy bee. Is she not behaving at school?

ingles2 Fri 23-May-08 12:56:11

kitten... you can get a tutor as we have but I wouldn't involve school at all. As I said on the other thread ds1 loves going to his and even though he could sit GCSE Maths soon, there is no way that I will let that happen.
Ours is very good in that it's mainly games and theorys that not being a mathematician myself is all way beyond me. If I could explore this with him I would (and save the money) but my field is art.
I think your dd has already got a really decent amount of after school activites and tbh I'd leave it at that. If her creative writing is weaker I'd probably concentrate on that.

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 12:56:45

You could exploit the gaps in the National Curriculum, and teach her things she will never learn at school. It will give you the opportunity to go into serious depth without treading on the school's toes, and give her something to get her teeth into... Preferably exploiting something in line with her interests. If you want to know the content of the NC for the next few years, the Bitesize part of the BBC site is good.

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 12:57:19

x posted with you Avenap. grin

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 23-May-08 12:57:21

avenanap - me too!! those little teeny tiny holes. Worked out how many was in one square and then worked out how many 10s of thousands there were overall. teacher spotted me, asked what I was doing. I told her, she thought I was being cheeky and stayed in over lunch to count them. course I was right.

Does your ds get individual work set then? cos dd is in the able group in her class and they get more challenging work than the others but her teacher says that the prob is dd is so far beyond them (in maths)

Well, its just half a term left of YR3. dds got these pullout sessions to look forward to. I think I'll make an appt with her next years teacher as soon as I know who they are and ask how dd is going to be catered for during the following year. Will be hard without unintentionally criticising her YR3 teacher but I will do my best to be constructive

avenanap Fri 23-May-08 13:00:08

Philosophy's a good thing for bright children. It helps then to think and express themselves in a different way. My ds likes to ask about what I would need if I created my own society (people, facilities etc). He finds this very stimulating and it's not taught at school. He starts a new school in Spetember and they have agreed to slot this in as the head thinks it's beneficial for all the children. Maybe you could do something like this, you can fit creative writing in there aswell.

soapbox Fri 23-May-08 13:01:20

I love maths, did as a child and still do now; I just love working with numbers.

What you really need to get school to do is to encourage your DD to get to that point too!

My view is that no child should ever need to do a maths GCSE early - maths is such a broad and wide ranging subject that going wider and wider and wider still is as fun as going up and down a fairly narrowly defined maths syllabus!

If she's bored with arithmetic, then there is still algebra, measurement, statistics, sequences, nonverbal reasoning, fractions, etc etc.

You need to get the school to look at breadth of experience rather than just looking at moving up the levels.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 23-May-08 13:04:44

ingles2 - you are right in that she prob is doing enough extracurricular stuff - poor child does actually need a childhood too! T'was a desperate thought really.

duchesse - brilliant, I can look at that and steer her away from the curriculum.

avenanap. She is behaving but is just so not there iysim. She really has the art of daydreaming perfected. She does get herself in a pickle by helping others in maths and getting frustrated when they don't get it.

Astronomy is one of my interests unfortunately I can't do it practically any more cos of my eye problems. As dd is really really into WW2 at the moment we are running with that. Going to take her to the Imperial war museum on monday. Makes a change from the dinosaur phase anyway!!

avenanap Fri 23-May-08 13:05:28

OYBBK: Yes, the ones on the polystyrine squares. I used to have nothing to do apart from sit and wait for everyone to catch up so I used to count the spots and join them up in my head. Very sad. I wish I'd have said how bored I was. ds gets individual maths and english. The other subjects are tiered (sp)into top, middle, and not so middle, ds is top. He's working 2 years ahead in English and Maths so they work around him. It shouldn't matter how far ahead she is, if the rest of the class are learning the number bonds to 10, she should have number bonds up to 100 or 1000, wherever she is.

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 13:05:50

D'you know I think introducing her to great literature (Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare) would be a very good idea- I always rather despair of people (don't mean you, but those people whose children get into Oxford at 13) who could might have saved their child from a lifetime of misery by encouraging them to become broad and mature human beings. Sure maths is quantifiable, but what price happiness, the ability to understand the world and feel secure in it and about themselves. I rather feel that the definite nature of many areas of maths engrains a more childish black and white view of the world.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 23-May-08 13:09:08

soapbox- she loves algebra
blimey am beginning to realise what a hectic life she lives. No wonder I'm exhausted. She seems to have boundless energy. But you are right in reminding me that sideways is far better than up.

Philosophy good idea too but after talking with you all I think perhaps she might actually be doing enough and I should just chill rather.

Have to go for the moment. back later - thanks all, your advice as always has been most welcome

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 13:11:08

Children who are bored tend to turn their minds to imaginative play- which is exactly what you want her to do. If she is of that bent, having a little philosophy or an idea to mull over during boring bits at school would be doing her a big service.

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 13:13:33

This was second daughter's flight of fancy in the car on the way to school the other day: Imagine if gravity suddenly stopped being quite so strong and we could all walk about a foot off the ground. Kept her amused for literally minutes, imagining all the possibilities.

avenanap Fri 23-May-08 13:13:40

There are parents like this at ds's school. They did practice entrance tests for private secondary schools on Monday. Ds said one girl got 100% in English because her mum made her practice for it. Poor thing, she must have no life. I worry what she'll turn out like. It's hard to find a balance between giving them not enough to do at home and giving them too much. I'd rather he had some fun, he's still a child and childhood is precious. I could very easily sit and make him do extra maths etc but that's no life for a child. He was very disapointed that he only got 72% for maths though so he's asked to do extra work. What do you do? I think 72% is fab! Especially as it was a test for 11 year olds and he's only just turned 9.

Bink Fri 23-May-08 13:13:59

We've been lent this textbook by the school ds is going to in Sept (idea being he can make sure he's covered the ground the others will have done) - it's lovely, full of lateral ideas like how the Babylonian number system worked. Ds reads it for fun (I can admit that since you sound like you've got a similar one smile).

duchesse Fri 23-May-08 13:15:21

Avenap- "Bêtes à concours" (exam beasts). Poor things. What does it prove???

avenanap Fri 23-May-08 13:16:46

duchess, I keep being asked what will happen if the sun grows, would the gravitational pull be stronger and pull the eath into it? I'm having nightmares! Or what would happen if the moon blew up? If the moon and the sun are responsible for holding earth in space would earth fall through space?

snorkle Fri 23-May-08 13:18:13

I have an older mathsie child who could I'm sure have done exams early. We didn't get a tutor and I don't regret it. Yes it seems like he never learns anything in maths lessons and is sometimes bored, but it's not really a problem - he's very adept at scheduling his music lessons in maths time so he misses as many as possible. Much better to spend the mony and time on extra-curricular stuff and stretch sideways so to speak. Otherwise you're just putting time and money into achieving what she will achieve eventually anyway and creating a problem for what maths to do when she's got her A levels (maths + f. maths) but is still at school and not ready to go to university yet. The UK system isn't really geared up for accelerated maths learning, but if it's going to happen I'd let the school organise it & then they'll be responsible for the cost and solving the ongoing problems that might arise.

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